Stop, reflect & celebrate
For me, the month of April, much like the month of July, is filled with moments to celebrate. April is the birthday month of my gorgeous mum and several of my gorgeous friends. This year, April not only gave me the opportunity to celebrate those dearest to me, but it also gave me a chance to stop, reflect and celebrate how far I have come personally.
Early in the month the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators ACT Branch invited me to share the highlights and lessons learned from my writing journey at a very special professional development evening. I was asked to be on a panel with authors that I truly admire and look up to. I was extremely nervous when I found the email inviting me to participate. It has barely been two years since Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii was released, what could I possibly say? I have only just started my writing journey, I am still learning. Luckily, the universe bought me and the other members of the panel together at the Goulburn Reader Writer Festival and then again at the National Library of Australia. The more we talked, the closer we all became. As we laughed and exchanged our stories I found the comfort I needed to be brave and take on the opportunity. The lovely women who would sit next to me on the panel also helped me realise that I too had valuable insights to contribute. Being asked to share the de Rose-Ahern Stories story with the Canberra writing community was a treat. It also gave me a chance to really take stock and acknowledge the magical moments that have occurred already as I attempt to fulfil my audacious dream of becoming an author. It can be easy to glaze over these spectacular moments as you continue to push and strive for your goal, but through this event I was reminded that it is essential that we actually recognise these sparkly, shiny, magnificent moments for what they are…magic! It is important to stop, reflect and celebrate the splendour of the experience (the you three years, ten years or even twenty years ago would demand it! Look how far you have come!)
April was also the month I graduated with a Masters in International Development. After four long years of part-time study whilst working, writing, being a mother and a wife, I adorned the cap and gown and attended my graduation ceremony. Attending the ceremony, I thought, was merely for my parents. I was hesitant to go. I had already done it once before and was it really necessary to do it all again. My beautiful parents pleaded that I humour them so I did just that only to be struck by this ‘magical moment’ as I sat and listened to the touching and inspiring speeches at the ceremony. ‘Don’t cry’ I chanted to myself, I was shocked and embarrassed when I felt my eyes well up. Stopping and reflecting on the long road to my graduation day really hit me hard. I began to realise that in my second year of study, I had my bold and courageous daughter arrive prematurely. I remembered writing assessment pieces at the hospital as I tried to keep my head above water at the most emotionally and physically draining time of my life. All the memories of working in the middle of the night to fulfil my course requirements all came flooding back. Stopping and reflecting made celebrating my graduation all the more magical.
The month of April was filled with moments that made me smile. It was filled with moments that encouraged me to stop, reflect and celebrate. I now know the importance of actually doing a happy dance every time a magical moment comes my way. After all, life should be celebrated! As I ended the month of April, I walked into one of my favourite bookshops to pick up a gift for one of my friends. There on the shelf I found Charlie’s Adventures…in Hawaii on the bookshops bestseller list. I stopped, I reflected and I celebrated…on the inside…next time I will be doing a happy dance around the shop!
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
Had a wonderful time at the SCBWI professional development evening! Thank you to the ACT team for inviting me to share my journey. It was such an inspiring evening! Special thanks to Nicole Godwin, Kerry Malone, Very Brambleberry, Tania McCartney, Irma Gold, Grace Bryant, Shaye Wardrop and Cate Whittle!
Graduate! This month I celebrated the completion of my Masters degree. Thank you to my family, friends, lecturers & fellow graduates for all the support over the past few years
Another magical moment…walking into a bookshop and finding Charlie on the bestseller list! ✨📚